Gibbs gives Deccan fourth consecutive win

gibbsA tenacious display from Deccan Chargers’ bowlers followed by a murderous assault from their opening batsmen secured their fourth consecutive win of the tournament and firmly established the Hyderabad side as the team to beat this season.

Pragyan Ojha once again bowled impressively - picking up two wickets in one crucial over, including that of the dangerous-looking Matthew Hayden - to restrict Chennai to merely 165 when they looked set for much more at one stage. The competitive target, however, was diminished by a withering assault from Adam Gilchrist and Herschelle Gibbs. They blitzed 60 runs off the first four overs and gave their team enough cushion against a few setbacks on their way to victory.

Tendulkar and Jayasuriya overwhelm Kolkata

sachinMany a time over the last 15 years or so fans of this great game have wondered what it would be like if Sachin Tendulkar and Sanath Jayasuriya opened together in a limited-overs game and really turned it on. Today they got a glimpse.

Bopara half-century leads Punjab to clinical victory

boparaRavi Bopara compiled a supremely-paced innings, one that could rival AB de Villiers’ century because it came during a run-chase, to give Kings XI Punjab their first victory of the tournament. He scored steadily without taking too many risks and just when the chase entered its final phase Bopara accelerated with tremendous speed to consign Bangalore Royal Challengers to their third consecutive defeat.

The groundwork for the win was laid by Punjab’s bowlers who made their first sunny match-day count. Yusuf Abdulla, who had bowled three overs for 39 before this match, struck at crucial moments in Bangalore’s innings. Abdulla’s four strikes, and Irfan Pathan’s three in the final overs, were vital in restricting Bangalore to 168, a target which allowed Punjab’s batsmen to play according to a plan.

Flintoff returns home to undergo surgery

flintoffAndrew Flintoff has returned home from the Indian Premier League to undergo surgery on a torn meniscus in his right knee.

Flintoff had been appearing for Chennai Super Kings in the IPL when he felt discomfort in his right knee. The Chennai medical staff immediately contacted ECB’s chief medical officer Dr Nick Peirce. Scans were taken of the right knee in a Durban hospital and they detected a slight medial meniscal tear and after these were viewed by Peirce it was decided that Flintoff should return to London.

Yusuf and Kamran steal Rajasthan a thriller

yusufYusuf Pathan broke the IPL’s first tie and with it Kolkata Knight Riders’ hearts through clean hitting in the Super Over, to chase down 16 runs in four deliveries. It was intense drama at Newlands with the match swinging either way - from the moment Rajasthan Royals lost two wickets in the first three overs, till Sourav Ganguly’s dismissal with two runs required and one ball to go - as the excitement spilled over into the Super Over, the solution to a Twenty20 tie.

Gilchrist and Rohit shine in win

adamIt seemed the IPL had finally found its Twenty20 soul, with two batsmen combining to score - for the first time in this tournament - at a frenetic pace throughout the innings. But chasing a huge Deccan Chargers total, a limp show from Bangalore Royal Challengers meant another wait for the first closely-fought encounter this season.

The day belonged to Adam Gilchrist and Rohit Sharma, who scored 123 between them, off 75 deliveries, with 88 of them coming in boundary hits. The target of 185, under lights at Newlands, is not an experience teams look forward to. It didn’t help that for the third time in a row, Bangalore lost a wicket without having scored a run.

Suspect action costs Botha IPL contract

bothaThe move by umpires to report Johan Botha for a suspect action in the fourth one-day international against Australia has cost the spinner a lucrative IPL contract. Cricinfo understands the Rajasthan Royals had approached the South African limited overs vice-captain in the weeks prior to the IPL, but were deterred after Botha was cited by umpires Rudi Koertzen, Brian Jerling and Asoka de Silva in Port Elizabeth.

Gayle helps Kolkata home in rain-hit game

punjabSourav Ganguly made yet another comeback, this time with the ball, to help Kolkata Knight Riders keep Kings XI Punjab down to 158 for 6. Thereafter, Chris Gayle made the most of two dropped chances to dishearten Punjab and take Kolkata 11 ahead of the Duckworth-Lewis par-score when heavy rain ended the match in the 10th over.

Ganguly had been quiet in the lead-up to this tournament; he had lost his captaincy and looked out of sorts in scoring 1 in 12 balls against Deccan Chargers. Today, though, he made his statement with the ball, taking two wickets in his first over and pulling Punjab back from a solid-yet-unspectacular start.

Strauss puts pressure on IPL stars

straussAndrew Strauss has a “fairly good idea” who will be batting No. 3 for England against West Indies and hinted that those candidates in county cricket could edge ahead of those plying their trade in the IPL.

Michael Vaughan, Ian Bell, Owais Shah and Ravi Bopara are all options at three and while the first two have started the domestic season, Shah and Bopara - along with Test certainties Kevin Pietersen, Andrew Flintoff and Paul Collingwood - are in South Africa with their IPL franchises.

Ireland take trophy, Afghans the headlines

irelandIt took 12 teams 54 matches spread over 19 days to determine the best of the rest, the countries next in the queue for an ICC handout and those fortunate four who will play in the 2011 World Cup. The ICC World Cup Qualifiers lurked deferentially in the shadow of the looming Indian Premier League, yet held its own as the Associates’ showcase event and even inducted a war-torn nation as one of the sport’s own. Beat that, Mr Modi.